BUCHANAN – Hundreds of “faulty” and “missing” bolts were discovered during a planned outage at Indian Point nuclear power plant and will keep a reactor shutdown for several additional weeks.
A scheduled inspection at the Buchanan power plant of more than 2,000 bolts on the face of a removable insert liner in the plant’s Unit 2 reactor “revealed issues” with about 11 percent of the bolts, or 220, Entergy said in a released statement on its website Tuesday. The issues found included “missing bolts” and “other degradation requiring replacement of the bolts,” Entergy said.
The newly discovered issues will add several weeks to the outage, Entergy said.
The issues found with the reactor’s insert liner did not have any impact on public health or safety, Entergy said. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among other agencies, have been notified.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has repeatedly criticized Indian Point’s safety record and called for the closure of the aging plant, said in a released statement that the discovery of “hundreds of faulty bolts” raised “deep concerns.”
“This is the latest in a long series of incidents that raise deep concerns about the management, maintenance and equipment standards at this plant,” Cuomo said in the statement.
“While there is no immediate danger to public health and safety, this troubling news further validates the State’s ongoing investigation into the operations of this aging power plant and our position that it should not be relicensed,” he added.
The bolt issues were identified during the Indian Point Unit 2’s “Aging Management Program,” which is implemented once every 10 years in connection with the plant’s ongoing licensing renewal. The first inspection began on March 7 during a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage.
Engineers conducted more than 350 inspections to equipment during the planned maintenance, Entergy said, including testing and inspections of the reactor containment area, the reactor vessel, the control rod mechanism, coolant pump motors, and steam generators.
Entergy said that the comprehensive inspections show that critical components at Unit 2 continue to perform safely and as intended.
“Safety is always our first priority, and the hundreds of inspections performed over the last few weeks demonstrate these programs work as designed,” said Larry Coyle, site vice president and Entergy’s top official at Indian Point. “Safeguards and automatic detection equipment are in place to alert plant operators of impacts on safe operations.”
Earlier this year, radioactive tritium-contaminated water was discovered in samples of groundwater monitoring wells. Entergy said at the time that there was no impact to public health or safety.
Since 2007, Entergy has been seeking to extend its licenses for Indian Point’s two reactors, Units 2 and 3, for 20 more years. The nuclear power plant can continue to operate until the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides on its application, which can take several years.
But Cuomo’s office seems intent on preventing the nuclear power plant from gaining the certification necessary to continue operating.
In November, the New York Department of State refused to give Indian Point a certificate required for future use of the Hudson River. Months later, Entergy filed suit against in federal court seeking a court order to toss out the state’s refusal, contending the state certificate is not needed for the plant’s continued operation.